What are your greatest Food Savvy tips?

As many of you will know, I have been taking part in the #FoodSavvy challenge organised through the environmental charity Hubbub in conjunction with Suffolk County Council and Norfolk County Council.

#FoodSavvy campaign in partnership with Norfolk and Suffolk councils

What’s it all about?

The campaign is to create awareness around Food Waste and Single-Use food plastic, issues which totally fit in with the Life Diet Health way of life! 😀 If you missed my first post of the campaign, check it out here!

Be #FoodSavvy and Save Money!

What have I learnt?

For me this challenge so far has been more about single-use plastic, than food waste. I’ve discovered that the main food waste we have in our house, is when we don’t like something! Usually with food which we make ourselves this is not a problem, as we like what we make, and we do (or at least I thought we did!) make a lot of our own food!

However, recently we’ve been trying all the new vegan products which have appeared on the market – most unfortunately of which are in plastic trays or packets! Sometimes we like the foods. Sometimes we don’t! Sometimes we pass the rest of it on for someone else to try, or try and add it to something else if possible, but if it’s really awful (and there are quite a few that are), it might just go straight in the bin!

#LoveYourLeftovers

We’re pretty good with leftovers. We cook what we think we’ll need, usually with a bit left over for lunch the next day. If it’s something which takes some cooking, we might deliberately make a big batch and freeze part of it – labelling it and putting it where we can see it. Another thing we’ve recently started doing, is keeping a list of what’s in the freezer, so a) we only buy what we need b) we can quickly see what’s available to eat without getting the freezer too warm and c) save time and energy not cooking something we already have! Leftovers are great for throwing in a soup! 🙂

Use this simple base and add all your leftover veg (& meat if you wish) to it!

Do you throw anything away?

We have noticed little bits of food waste, like: the last Brussels sprout on the plate which is covered in gravy and was one too many; the couple of chips which were end pieces and too crunchy; the end of the cereals which got too soggy; the squishy bit of the banana which has got bruised and tastes so banana-ey; the burnt bit of toast which is more like charcoal, or the last of the cake which has got too dry and stale. Occasionally we might have a bit of rice or bulghur wheat which doesn’t get eaten – this gets rinsed and given to the birds (be mindful if you’ve used a lot of salt when cooking though).

What about food plastic?

The plastic! I was so disappointed! There are a lot of changes we have already made for example, we make all our own fresh bread and rolls – mostly using a sourdough starter (kept in the fridge in glass jars), with flour in paper bags (which we keep to store the bread in), and haven’t bought ourselves a loaf of sliced bread since before Oct 2018! That is a LOT of plastic bags we’ve saved from landfill! That’s over 70 weeks ago – so I’d say at least 100 bags we’ve saved! Hoorah! 😀

Then there’s cling film! People use this without thinking and we certainly used to, getting through roll after roll as we wrapped sandwiches and leftovers to store or give away. Now we have a selection of alternatives which we use, my latest favourite being silicon squares which generally end up just being flung over whatever it is! We have stretchy silicon circles, reusable covers with elastics in a range of sizes and soya wax wraps for covering foods and we use foil for keeping sandwiches fresh (we re-use the foil as much as possible, then re-cycle it).

What plastic did you use in a week?

We certainly did not expect this much single-use plastic to be used just through food use in one week! We have a LOT of work to do here! Of course, some of this can be recycled, but even so – have a look…

Just one week’s worth of our households food plastic!

This picture shows the plastic roughly divided into categories: Drinks; Breads & Pastries; Vegetables; Meats/Alternatives; Snacks; Desserts. There’s a lot of work to be done here but we’ve started already! Look at how much of this can be recycled…

Tetrapacks. Recyclables. Non-recyclables.

Unfortunately, our local council no longer accepts Tetrapacks in their recycling (wheelie) bins, but they can still be taken to the Local Recycling Centre. We have rinsed and flattened the Tetrapacks and have stacked them ready to go. We are now trying to source alternatives for these, which although not too difficult, comes with sometimes double or treble the cost! The recyclables went in the recycling bin and there was still quite a bit of non-recyclable plastic (mostly plastic film and bags) which sadly has to go to landfill!

As part of this FoodSavvy challenge, the following items were #gifted to me. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen these already. All of these products are a great help when reducing single-use plastic use. Check back soon to find out which I think are most useful and how I used them!

Make recycling easy!

Do you have separate bins in your kitchen for recycling? We have a Bokashi bin for food scraps, a paper/card/tin/plastic recycling bin and a black bin for anything which can’t be recycled. This article popped up in my emails the other week – so much choice for recycling bins!

There are lots of bins about, we like these ones:


Here’s a few FoodSavvy suggestions for you!

Easy plastic swaps:

⭐Plastic Drinks bottles: Reusable bottles or buy cans.

⭐Take out coffee: Reusable coffee cup or drink in.

⭐Plastic straws: Stainless steel / bamboo / pasta straws or go without

⭐Cling film: Foil / silicon / soy wax wraps / lidded containers or cover with a plate

Easy steps to reducing food waste:

⭐Check your fridge before shopping – take a photo or write a list of what you already have.

⭐Only buy reduced foods if you can a) freeze them b) eat them before they go off c) they fit in with your plans!

⭐Plan your meals! Go through your fridge/freezer/cupboards/pantry and plan a few days worth of meals based on what you already have.

⭐Freeze leftovers the same day (unless you can use them for lunch the next day).

⭐Use portion controls so you minimise leftovers – only cook what is needed.

What are others doing?

Since taking on this challenge, I’ve become more aware of what others are doing and have had some great conversations!

For example…

In the Isle of Man, they have the FIRST plant-based milk cartons made out of sugar cane (I know it’s dairy milk – but it’s a great move)! They are even starting a recycling collection service to customers too!

There are several great apps you can download which offer food and drink items going to waste to the public at reduced prices. Check out Olio or Too Good To Go or find other options here!

Testing was carried out on supermarket milk to check the use-by-dates were correct. As three million pints of milk a year are thrown away in Suffolk and Norfolk alone! use-by dates are pretty important. The result of the tests… milk was still safe for up to SEVEN DAYS past the use-by date!

Some countries have very limited general recycling facilities (in 2018, Turkey only recycled 1% of general waste), whereas others have recycling built into their culture – (in 2019, Germany recycled 66%)!

If you’re gifted something you don’t like or won’t eat, then how about donating it to a foodbank (or re-gifting it).

Are you joining in?

Are you doing your own FoodSavvy challenge too? What’s the most difficult thing you have found about minimising Food Waste? Do you have any tips to share? Do you have any go to ‘leftovers recipes’?

What about single-use food plastic? Do you find certain items difficult to avoid in plastic (cucumbers and lettuce for me!)?

Join in below! Leave your comments and suggestions!

Speak soon

Laurena x

12 Comments

  • Eva Gallon 18th February 2020 at 18:55

    Ahh, the ‘big soup’☺ I like the idea of keeping a list for what’s in the freezer- it’s so easy to pile more stuff into it and forget about what’s in there (mum-in-law found some blanched green beans dated August 2013 last month!). Err…you actually leave cake to go stale??😁😉 I like adding grains (autocorrected to ‘trains’!) in soup too. I tend to use leftover cabbage and other veg in soups as well. Apples tend to get left behind, despite my best intentions but they usually end up in a curry lol. I re-use foil too before recycling it: I can just picture certain family members rolling their eyes at this haha. I use plastic packaging as drawer dividers or containers in the fridge. Ooh, your gifted goodies look great😊

    Reply
    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth
      Laurena@LifeDietHealth 18th February 2020 at 20:54

      I love a ‘big soup’! 😊The freezer list idea is fantastic- especially when you’re certain something is there but isn’t!😋 I’ve taken everything out twice I think now- the second list I wrote shelf by shelf!🎉I’ve a magnetic dry wipe board stuck on the freezer so it’s so easy now. Did you try the beans though? (I probably would have put them in the soup!) Lol about the cake! When you’re recipe testing there’s often more than one/one batch of whatever it is (birds like cake too)! Grains in soup is fantastic and something I often do too. Apples… curry?!?!! 🤔I prefer a crumble but I could try that (no I couldn’t!😂). Our foil is used multiple times – often rinsed too… it lasts ages! Excellent idea for plastic packaging 👍🏼I love that. The foodsavvy goodies are great – more on those to come!

      Reply
  • Eva Gallon 18th February 2020 at 21:17

    No, she wouldn’t have used those beans in anything- I hope they went in the compost at least, I’m sure they did. Lol about the apple: it’s sort of similar to adding fruit chutney to curries and I think it works in a 1970s UK raisin curry way😁 Of course crumble is a classic👍The previous storm starting with E was Eva hehe.

    Reply
    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth
      Laurena@LifeDietHealth 19th February 2020 at 11:01

      Not so random question… pineapple on pizza or not?😋 Ooo, just had a thought, maybe an apple puree would work in savoury- I ‘might’ do some experimenting! Ooo, you had a storm named after you 😋😂 Did you do much damage?

      Reply
  • Eva Gallon 19th February 2020 at 11:59

    Hehe, yes, I’m one of those weirdos who happens to like pineapple on pizza (much to hubby’s annoyance)😁. Apple puree is a good idea- I keep meaning to make some myself and never get around to it. It’s very popular over here. You’re going to love this: a few years ago I used to eat it with jacket potatoes (and mustard) after seeing American vegan youtubers do this lol. I think Storm Eva was a little while back so can’t remember if I did much damage☺

    Reply
    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth
      Laurena@LifeDietHealth 19th February 2020 at 12:07

      Oh gosh! Jacket potatoes and apple puree is something I would never have thought of! Most definitely winning the #FoodSavvy minimising food waste leftovers ideas!😋 Oh yes… I thought you might have commented on the 66% recycling in Germany! Is it true that it’s built into the culture and everything possible is recycled?

      Reply
  • Eva Gallon 19th February 2020 at 12:32

    Re your last point, I assumed that went without saying😜Yes, recycling is definitely built into the culture here in Germany, I even noticed that back in 2000 when people would hand in their glass bottles for pennies: we do the same now with most bottles (plastic as well as glass) at most of the supermarkets here. Actually, Aldi is the only one i can think of that doesn’t have this facility. Tetra packs are still recyclable here (home collection as well as recycling skip). Not at all surprised the percentage of recycling centres was very low in Turkey lol, I imagine it’s the same in most Mediterranean (except for Italy) and Middle Eastern countries. I must remember to take out the compost, it’s brown bin collection tomorrow☺

    Reply
    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth
      Laurena@LifeDietHealth 19th February 2020 at 12:47

      Yes… but it is for everyone else’s benefit to share it! 😛 The UK could learn so much I think from all the recycling you do over there! Do you know what happens to it once collected? I love the idea that the supermarkets have recycling bottle points – I do recall when I was very young returning glass bottles (not writing the brand as the name is currently linked to something else) to the pub! for 10p (that would be about 25p-30p today?) You have compost in the house???

      Reply
  • Eva Gallon 19th February 2020 at 13:10

    No, I don’t know exactly how it’s processed but I like to think it’s all done ‘properly’. I’m surprised you remember about the bottle thing in the UK; a lady was telling me about that from 60s Britain lol- it must’ve carried on for a while then before it was scrapped for whatever reason. I read somewhere it may be coming back? Sorry about the confusion re the compost: I just meant the small kitchen compost bin. I used to put stinky garlic and onion peel in separate green (apparently compostable) bags but was told off for it! I used to do that back home. I’m such a snowflake lol

    Reply
    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth
      Laurena@LifeDietHealth 19th February 2020 at 13:14

      I think I only remember it as it was literally across the road from us and I felt all grown up being allowed in the pub with my Dad! 😛 (children were not allowed in pubs then either?) See… that’s another thing we can’t do! Our local council no longer allows us to put food waste (aka veg and fruit peelings!) in our brown (garden) bins! That’s another reason we have a Bokashi bin and several compost bins!

      Reply
  • Eva Gallon 19th February 2020 at 13:26

    Yes, I’d heard that about the fruit and veg peelings/brown bin. Instead Tunbridge Wells council have given my in-laws a kitchen compost bin instead: it’s around 5x the size of the one my parents were given years ago from Enfield council lol. I was intrigued whether any of the Bokashi bins had a separate section for extra-stinky stuff but maybe I’m being naive😁

    Reply
    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth
      Laurena@LifeDietHealth 20th February 2020 at 00:17

      Everything goes in my Bokashi bin all together, then after the bran goes on and the lid sealed you don’t get any smell at all🎉👍🏼

      Reply

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